LOS ANGELES (AP) — Bubba Watson says he was contemplating retirement.
The two-time Masters champion had gone two years without winning. He fell out of the top 100 in the world ranking for the first time in 10 years. He was losing power and losing confidence, and didn’t matter which color golf ball he was using. Worst of all, he was losing weight from an illness he still doesn’t want to talk about.
About all he had were options.
”I have a car dealership, a candy store and a baseball team,” Watson said. ”We had something to do.”
He wound up sticking to golf, as if that was never an option. One week at Riviera was a reminder that ”Bubba Golf” remains a best seller.
Watson ended his longest drought of the decade – it was two full years since he last won a tournament – with a game perfectly suited for the classic layout off Sunset Boulevard. He shaped shots to the right and to the left, figured out how to make the right putts, holed a bunker shot and closed with a 2-under 69 for a two-shot victory in the Genesis Open that changes his outlook.
”The last year-and-a-half, almost two years give or take, it’s been a struggle because I want to be at the top,” Watson said. ”I was top 10 in the world for a few years, and so not being there, you feel like, ‘Is this it? Is this my old man moment where I can’t play golf again?”’
When he won at Riviera for the second time in 2016, Watson was at No. 4 in the world. The following week, he finished one shot behind at the World Golf Championships event at Doral. Over his next 36 starts on the PGA Tour in stroke play, he had two top 10s.
Among the low points was the end of 2016, when he was No. 7 in the world and still didn’t make or was picked for the Ryder Cup team at Hazeltine. Watson still joined the American team as an assistant captain, and loved it so much that he has asked U.S. captain Jim Furyk for the same job in France this year. [/restrict]